Communication is vital to a healthy relationship. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the first skills to be damaged by addiction. There is usually a tremendous amount of deceit and mistrust that is produced by alcoholism and addiction and due to this, finding any real common grounds in which to communicate effectively is almost impossible.
What this means is that when your loved one makes the decision to finally seek help for their substance abuse issues by going to treatment, there is a lot of work that must be done on both sides if healthy lines of communication are to be re-created. This task is not always and when your loved one is undergoing treatment for drugs or alcohol, communication can be challenging, because in essence you essentially have to rebuild broken lines of communication and learn to form trust after so many years of having mistrust.
Creating an honest dialogue with your loved ones that allows for constructive criticism is imperative to maintaining long-term recovery for everyone involved. Here are some pointers on how to form effectively communication in treatment with family members and friends:
Creating Effective Communication in Treatment
Communicate with Love
One of the best ways to start communication in treatment is with love. This can be tremendously difficult as you may currently be enraged by the addict or alcoholic, but coming from a place of love, rather then anger or hate is always the best way to start.
You can do this by remembering that the addict or alcoholic’s disease does not define him or her. Though you may be hurt or frustrated, it’s important to keep a constructive and loving emphasis on present circumstances when confronting the negative consequences of their past behaviors. Forgiveness doesn’t equate to forgetting or failing to address past pain or resentment, rather, it’s about being mindful of the fact that your loved one has been sick and is finally getting much-needed treatment. With the proper support, you can rebuild your relationship and learn to communicate effectively through love, honesty and forgiveness.
Communication in Treatment via a Letter
When you feel conflicted about how best to communicate with the addict in your life, writing a letter offers a positive and constructive means to express your love and support. Writing allows you to share your feelings in a measured, thoughtful way and helps avoid the impulsive and potentially damaging comments that can occur during verbal interactions. Write as many drafts as you need, taking time to allow for periods of reflection and revision. Letter writing offers your loved one the opportunity to understand clearly what’s in your heart and mind.
Offer Support through Communication in Treatment
Addicts commonly fear that their loved ones will fail to understand the real challenges they face and why they haven’t been able to “just get sober.” Empathy for the challenges your friend or family member is facing in treatment and admiration for his or her courage to seek help will only help strengthen the recovery process.
Ways to show support:
- When the time comes, accompany them to an open meeting.
- Engage in new activities together. Take classes, learn new skills, travel, etc. Creating new opportunities to bond and planning for the future can excite your loved one about the prospect of a better tomorrow. This helps to break past cycles and fosters enthusiasm for a life grounded in recovery. Try not to overwhelm them with suggestions. Allow for necessary time and space so that they can engage in the planning process as well. It is important that they set the pace.
- Educate yourself about addiction and the treatment process. Create a safe space that encourages open and honest communication about the challenges and rewards involved in getting sober. By being genuinely interested in their recovery process, you are showing them the best form of support.
It’s important to offer help and support, but it’s equally relevant to learn about setting and maintaining boundaries. Boundaries allow us to offer support without developing unhealthy codependence. If necessary, let your loved one know that you will be here to offer support, but that you will not tolerate manipulation or abuse.
Attend a Counseling Session with Your Loved One
At JourneyPure Bowling Green, we place a strong emphasis on family addiction counseling, and recognize it as an important component of our comprehensive treatment programs. Family counseling allows a safe space for open communication. Counselors help facilitate constructive conversations between loved ones, encouraging all of you to effectively communicate feelings. Here are some suggestions for maximizing your family counseling session:
- Establish communication with the counselor ahead of time. By reaching out in advance, you will know what to expect and have time to prepare. Note: If there are specific topics you would like to address, such as the negative impact of your loved one’s behavior on your life or the lives of others, inform the counselor prior to the meeting so that he or she will be ready to constructively navigate the discussion.
- Give yourself time to adequately prepare. Talking with loved ones about the negative consequences of their addiction can be intensely emotional. Plan what you wish to say in advance so that you can appropriately articulate your feelings and avoid unproductive, resentful comments. Set the intention to communicate constructively with your loved one.
By making a sincere effort to effectively and lovingly communicate with the suffering alcoholics and addicts in your life who are undergoing treatment, you will be providing them with invaluable support on their journey to recovery.
Finding a Rehab that Promotes Effective Communication in Treatment
If you think that you or your loved one may have a problem with drugs or alcohol and you believe that they need professional help then call the professionals at JourneyPure Bowling Green today. Our trained, caring, and knowledgeable staff is standing by to help you in any way that they can. They know exactly what it is that you are currently going through and they want nothing more but to help you through this trying time. There is no need to continue to suffer in silence, so please give us a call today.